Thursday, November 19, 2009

Pitching Workshop

Two execs, Carlos and Dan, whose companies/bosses oversaw the productions of Brokeback Mountain, Little Miss Sunshine, Into the Wild, and Cold Mountain shared valuable insights with us, the Project:Involve fellows, as we individually pitched our stories to them for feedback.

Carlos and Dan were both very giving and encouraging. Carlos had a wicked sense of humor, and Dan exhibited an articulate cinematic sensibility. They listened to each person's presentation/story, asked questions, and offered suggestions. While nobody discussed explicitly the art and science of pitching, I learned a lot from what people said or didn't say and how they said it.

When it was my turn, I walked up to the table and sat across from them and Jane, FIND's talent development coordinator. Earlier in the day, I practice my pitch many times -- in front of my brother and by myself. I also decided that rather than telling them the plot details, I would make them excited about the concept of my story. I adjusted the mic in front of me, and it fell out of the holder and hit the table. I looked them in the eyes (I could tell they were amused by me) and proceeded to introduce them to the world of my story.

They listened. Jane giggled. Was she laughing at me? I didn't think so. Could she be laughing with me? I sensed that Dan and Carlos were trying to comprehend this new world they were glimpsing. I believed in my presentation and gave it just as I had practiced. "This is my presentation, and I'll gladly hear any feedback or questions," I concluded before leaning back into the chair. I don't remember word-for-word what they said initially, but I realized that by asking questions they were not only trying to understand the world but also sought to participate in its creation. They then proceeded to reference other movies and asked me to cite the references I had in mind. I really enjoyed our discussion and felt I (re-)learned valuable things about my story and myself.

Several fellows shared their thought and knowledge after the workshop, which is super cool. I am so excited to be a part of this sharing, creative environment!

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